What Police want from Liquor Licensing Legislation: The Australian Perspective

July 2014
Trifonoff, A., Nicholas, R., Roche, A.M., Steenson, T., & Andrew, R. (2014). What police want from liquor licensing legislation: the Australian perspective. Police Practice and Research: An International Journal, 15(4), 293-306.

Police play a crucial role in addressing harms stemming from acute alcohol intoxication. They are required to manage alcohol-related crime, violence and antisocial behaviour, as well as the impact on public perceptions of safety. Due to growing community concern about alcohol and greater public support for enforcement measures, police assume a substantial burden in responding to alcohol-related public order problems. Police are increasingly expected to develop problem-solving techniques and implement appropriate strategies and responses to prevent alcohol-related crime and disorder.

Qualitative interviews were undertaken with 53 Australian police officers with specialist expertise in liquor law enforcement to ascertain their perspectives concerning the liquor licensing legislation in Australia's eight states and territories. Key identified included:

  • Current legislative and administrative arrangements favoured the interests of the alcohol industry and did not sufficiently empower police to reduce alcohol-related harms
  • There was ambiguity surrounding the police role in liquor licensing
  • Police encountered difficulties in enforcing drunkenness-related offences
  • Better strategic partnerships were required between government agencies to enhance enforcement
  • Data/intelligence gathered by police needed to be used to greater effect and play a more prominent role in liquor licensing decisions.